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Predictors of the Onset of Schizophrenia in US Military Personnel

Weber, Natalya S. MD, MPH*; Larsen, Rakel A. MS*†; Yolken, Robert H. MD; Cowan, David N. PhD, MPH*†; Boivin, Michael R. MD, MPH*; Niebuhr, David W. MD, MPH, MS

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: May 2015 - Volume 203 - Issue 5 - p 319–324
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000285
Original Articles

Alterations in immune response may be an important component in the etiopathogenesis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We examined the associations of pentraxin-3 (PTX3) with the onset of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. We tested preonset serum specimens from 160 US military service members who were later diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and 160 matched controls without psychiatric disorders. Lower serum levels of PTX3 were predictive of schizophrenia but not of bipolar disorder. Subjects with below-median PTX3 levels had a 3.0 odds ratio (confidence interval, 1.6–5.7) for schizophrenia onset in the multivariable logistic regression model controlling for demographic and military variables. The test for trends was significant (p = 0.002), with the likelihood increasing as the levels of PTX3 decreased. Crude and adjusted categorized levels were not predictive of bipolar disorder. A lower level of inflammatory response indicated by PTX3 might be implicated in developing schizophrenia.

*Preventive Medicine Branch, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD; †ManTech Health, Herndon, VA; ‡Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; and §Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD.

Send reprint requests to Natalya S. Weber, MD, MPH, Preventive Medicine Branch, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910. E-mail:

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